A quiet day in Barcelona. (November 2012)

Thea was having her hair cut, and that can take a long time, so I spent four hours wandering around the Gothic Quarter and La Rambla.

What struck me was how quiet everything was.

The streets were free of pedestrians, the shops of customers and the restaurants of diners.

There were still plenty of tourists about but nowhere near as many as we had seen a month earlier.

Even the prized seat, at the front of the double-decker city tour bus, was empty.

The only disturbances to my peaceful stroll, were the graffiti cleaners and the jackhammers of the workers repairing the pavement around the cathedral.

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